New Road

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life:  it goes on.
~ Robert Frost



It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here, and now it’s time to move on. The Educator learning management system has been my canvas and my playground for a few years. Most of my time has been spent listening and learning the wishes of online educators and working with software developers to help realize those dreams and efficiencies in a software program. I have had the pleasure of sharing time and space with hundreds of teachers around Florida. It has been both fun and work for me. It has been a tremendous learning interaction. This experience helped create a young and growing community of people who put their heads together in order to create an optimal user experience. Those dialogues and conversations began with genuine care and concern for the teaching and learning lives involved. That life was slowly and definitely made better for thousands.

That was then. This is now.


A whole new learning world has recently begun construction for me. The area being built is called WeatherSTEM. Developers have already setup the basic infrastructure, and I’ve been traveling through WeatherSTEM for a while now. It’s a fascinating place! You really should make a short side trip and explore this discovery a bit. That’s the BIG picture story. If you really want to see what some people around Florida are getting excited about, if you want to see things up close and personal, just take a look at any weather station page.

Do you want to find a WeatherSTEM page that’s close to your home? Just follow the formula for naming the WeatherSTEM websites. That would be county For example … or You get the idea? You’ll find a map of WeatherSTEM units/pages already installed in that county. There’s at least one unit in every Florida County. The UNITS list at the top will get you where you want to go. Click around and explore. No more hints. If you want more, you’ll find it … just like I did!

I’m really a lot like most people. All I ever really cared about was how many coolers to pack for the beach or whether or not to carry an umbrella. We really do just take weather for granted, don’t we? I have spent ten years teaching in classrooms, and I never grasped the incredible learning potential that sat just outside my classroom window. Take a look at some WeatherSTEM lessons! Go to any site page and click on the LEARN link in the top section:


I just counted more than 120 lessons and activities so far! The library keeps growing, and it continually arouses my curiosity. You never know when new roads might be built in the mind of a learner (or teacher).

So, I’ll sign off from this page. Never having been homeless for too long, I’ll move on to this page this week. I hope to meet and engage with teachers … and students, and farmers, and emergency managers, and whomever.


The door is wide open, and I hope you drop in.
Thank you all for helping me walk in your shoes for these years.
You have opened my eyes to ever widening horizons.



Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
~ Seneca

Export Update

We have rolled out an update to fix an issue within the gradebook export.
When using the export found in the gradebook view for a class, the honors and segments fields sometimes showed a discrepancy between  what you saw in Educator and what was exported.
This issue has been corrected.
Excel Export

On another note … the Educator developers have been hard at work with some rather significant upgrades.
It has been quiet here lately, but rest assured there are some B-I-G things on the way!

Reminders Update

We are in the process of updating the way the Mass Edit Reminders works.  We have re-enabled the filtering options, so the reminder you set will only be applied to the students you have selected. We are still working on improving this feature. Look for some other changes over the next few weeks!

Mass Edit Reminders page

Mass Edit Reminders page

Happy Newest Year

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
~ Mark Twain

Welcome back!
We trust your winter break was mostly wonderful, and your educator muscles might need a little stretching. We’re busy with some loose items from the year’s end, picking up some of your previous ideas to kick around, and creating an energized fresh start for 2016. Speaking of cleanup, let’s take a look at some explanations that might need a little cleaning …


Many of you have asked about the new Turnitin interface we shared just before the break. Here’s the scoop on that progress. As of this writing, the following FLVS courses now have the new Turnitin interface:

  • Creative Photography I V14
  • Driver Education/Traffic Safety V15
  • Economics with Financial Literacy V16
  • English I V12
  • English II V14
  • Geometry V16
  • HOPE V14
  • Parenting Skills V12
  • Peer Counseling 1 V14
  • Personal and Family Finance V12
  • Spanish I V9
  • United States History V12
  • World History V12

Only courses in the FLVS part-time umbrella ( are currently activated. By the end of this week, all part-time courses will be activated.
NOTE: All franchises and full-time domains will be added before January 11.

Others among you have made positive suggestions to improve the functionality of the recent update to reminders. These improvements will be rolling out in the next couple of days. Thank you for your suggestions, concerns, and appreciation. Yes, we’re here with you … and Happy New Year!


And now we welcome the New Year … full of things that have never been.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Turnitin Awakens

It’s true. All of it.
Han Solo, Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens

When you visit student assignments in the coming weeks, you’ll see something like this:


That link will bring you to this blog post regarding the new and more robust TII interface. When a student submits an assignment, you will possibly see new status information, indicating the file has been picked up by TII or rejected. Hovering over the text Failed will detail the reason for failure.


You will see one of the following reports for each assignment …

ONE (Legacy) – for previously submitted assignments; same as you have always seen:


TWO (New) – for assignments originally submitted since the new interface:


THREE (Both) – for assignments submitted in the old AND resubmitted in the new one:


Scores for both comments and all attached files will be shown in the new interface.
Questions or comments? Visit our Facebook page please.

Fresh Tracks

"Sandpeople always ride single file to hide their numbers." Ben Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

“Sandpeople always ride single file to hide their numbers.”
Ben Kenobi, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

We are going to show you more about where (and when!) your students have traveled …

heatmap2We have had some great response to the current student Heatmap.
Many of you have found it to be a useful tool for knowing when to best reach out to a particular student.
The Day/Hour Heatmap has helped you possibly discover a pattern in a student’s online attendance.
We have been working to bring you even more useful information.
We have released this new view/tool today.

As we have learned, there is a 14-day activity policy in the school for all students.
Simply stated, a student must be active for 14 days in order to complete a course.
We have a VSA integration that tells us when a student becomes active.
It’s not our job, however, to determine the meaning of the word active after a student is classified as such.
That’s a job for the educators.

If you activate a student today, and the student does nothing for 14 days, and then submits all his/her work on that last day … was that student active?
Once again, it’s not our job here.
So, the development team has incorporated a new view within Educator just for educators!
Welcome to the Daily Usage Heatmap!
You will now be able to view this Daily Usage Heatmap from the ACTIONS menu for any student.


The calendar format is obvious and needs no explanation. This will graphically represent every activity a student has had in this particular course. Hovering over the legend icons will reveal how many activities each color block represents on the calendar. The calendar will extend as far as a student participated in the course. Even returning archived students will have their calendars filled in! The Actions Summary will display the count of activity days at each numerical break.
In the example above, the student had 25 days with one to four actions. The student had one day at each of the next two levels of activity and one day with maximum (over 25+) actions. What do you think? Helpful?

On another note …
We have been faced with recent support issues due to teachers trying to change assignments. REMINDER: You cannot make any changes to assessments! Please consult with your lead or IL.

On one final note …
The Educator team is making a run to the end of this week in an effort to add some enhancements before your winter break. We’ve developed a new integration with the TurnItIn system. It is being piloted in one course right now, and things are looking good. Be sure to check back here later today or tomorrow for more details.

There has been an awakening… have you felt it?
Supreme Leader Snoke, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Strike It Rich

Formula for success: rise early, work hard, and strike oil.
~ J. Paul Getty


Rich text. It’s so much more demonstrative than plain text, isn’t it? Educator is going to START striking it rich via your reminders to students. We’ll watch that work, and we’ll see how you like it. If all goes well, and you seem to like it, we will expand the rich text editor into other areas of Educator. How about email, or feedback, or comments, and even announcements? Let’s see how you use these reminders for now. Try adding a reminder for a particular student. From the student roster you can add or edit a reminder:


You will click in the Student Name box to proceed one way or the other. That will open the Edit Student Reminder window:


The steps are all the same as they have been EXCEPT the text now showcases a rich text editor! Go play and give it a whirl! You can create or edit these reminders from the Student Roster page or under the Actions links under the applicable Assignment, Exam, or Worksheet page. Let us know what you think, and we will expand the scope of the rich text editor.

We have another little tidbit to make life a bit simpler for you. When you are sending a new email message, you might notice course shells listed that no longer have active students. These just get in the way. You can now control what course lists appear in your email recipient drop-down! Do you want to get rid of a listing?

From the black toolbar on top of any page select OTHER COURSES.
Scroll to the bottom of your Course Manager list and click on the COURSE ARCHIVES button.


You will see a list of Course Archives.
PLEASE NOTE: Every course MUST have the Allow Students in the course box checked!
To make any course disappear from your email listings, just check the Archive box (#2) and SUBMIT.


This will remove all listings from your email selection window. Restoration is accomplished by removing (#1) the checkmark. Pretty simple?

Be sure to check back next week. We will certainly have some stocking stuffers for you to enjoy.

Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.
~ Paul Theroux


In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.
~ Warren Buffett


Back again? Yesterdays often help shape tomorrows. Looking into a rearview mirror is never a good way to move forward. It definitely helps, however, to be able to see that pickup truck nearly inside your trunk or that BMW speeding up behind you on the right when you were about to move toward the exit lane. While rearview mirrors are not a primary focal point while moving forward, they are certainly worth a check to periodically get a glimpse of what’s going on all around you.


Adrian Ludwig Richter – Hänsel und Gretel

This week’s addition is somewhat off the instructional path.
It will not make your assessments any easier to grade.
Our work today will not process emails or help separate segments.
It’s really more like a Hansel and Gretel thing …

Wait, when the moon comes up I will be able to see the crumbs of bread that I scattered, and they will show us the way back home.
~ from Hansel and Gretel by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Your students leave a digital trail when they travel through Educator.
You’ve seen signs of this in the Usage Logs.
One of the teams at FLVS is focused on academic integrity.

You know those folks.
They wear long leather coats and wear hats pulled over their faces as they sit in smoke-filled rooms.
You’ve seen them in espionage movies and other black-and-white films.
No one knows their true identity.
It’s their mission to hide behind digital buildings and lurk in dark online alleys to find the students who are determined to beat the system, beat the assessments, and beat you at your own game.
They are the AI Team!


We wanted to make it easier to tell from where a student’s assessment had been submitted. We wanted to put more power into the hands of your academic integrity team. It’s no coincidence that this addition will also give you keener insight into what’s going on at those times when you want to know more. Your Educator team is just providing a tool for you to achieve closer scrutiny into the history of curious (suspicious?) assessment submissions.


Here we go, and here you can go as well …

Go to your STUDENT ROSTER and select any student.
Select that student to view his/her GRADE REPORT.
Click on any assessment within that report.
In this case we have selected an exam:


There will be a highlighted (blue) line that details the last accessed information. This will list the IP address from which the last submission of this particular assessment came. It will also share the geographic location of that public IP address. This will only be the APPROXIMATE location of the host. It will not pinpoint your house or office. Try this link, and see where you are right now.

Back to your students …

When you click on that LAST ACCESSED bar, a table will drop down. The number of rows will equal the number of times that particular assessment was submitted by that student. The date, the IP address, and the approximate location at that time will be listed:


In this example, the two oldest (bottom) submissions were from Central Florida. That’s not unusual. Providers often bounce around to different nodes, or students might go from home to school. The times were far apart as well. There is nothing unusual there. Would a submission from the Netherlands on the same day be questionable?

This will only apply to student work submitted AFTER today.
Prior submissions will NOT be included in this access table.

And finally …

We were asked a question recently about viewing the number of times assessments had been reset. We steered those queries to an older blog post from about 18 months ago! Do you see that other (RESET) bar beneath the new one?


That’s where you can view the reset history of a particular assessment in a student’s grade report. Time to go now. See you back here (or there) soon.

The past is like using your rear-view mirror in the car.
It’s good to glance back and see how far you’ve come, but if you stare too long you’ll miss what’s right in front of you.

~ Anonymous


Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
~ Benjamin Franklin

We are not introducing new enhancements to you this week. Why not? Simply put, they’re just not ready for prime time. We have nothing on the shelf to share openly, to make you appreciate us, or to make your work go more smoothly this week.


What’s going on? Remember those sessions we attended several weeks ago in Orlando? We’ve been taking considerable planning and development time to build the foundation for some dramatic improvements. Some of those things just take longer to develop than others. You just can’t rush a creamy Ragu Bolognese or a smoked Texas Brisket!

ragu brisket

Yes, we are still working. Yes, we are still listening. We’re pulling together the plans and programming to grow the learning management system you need. We’re stocking the shelves to better serve you next week, next month, next year, and beyond.


We didn’t want you to think we forgot about you. On the contrary, looking for the best paths to service you with excellence is a large part of our every day routine.

It’s important to have quiet time and isolation.
~ John Burnside


Question One

Do you know what hour is the busiest (most crowded) at FLVS?
On a typical weekday, during which hour is traffic heaviest in your Educator home?
Take your best guess on our Facebook page.

Question Two

Roughly how many students are connected to Educator at any given moment in that hour above?
In other words … how many students are connected at the same time?
Got a guess? You know where to tell us.

Have a great week!

You don’t have to be a mathematician to have a feel for numbers.
~ John Forbes Nash, Jr.